100 Moments: Tigers Take a Bite Out of Bethune
Friday, September 21, 2012
100 Moments: Tigers Take a Bite Out of Bethune

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by remembering a first in Tennessee State football history.

In 1982, the TSU Tigers met the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on the gridiron for the first time in school history.

The contest was played in front of 10,200 people at Hale Stadium, and the Tigers came into the game riding a six-game unbeaten streak. It was also an unseasonably cool night in Nashville with the thermostat reading 45 degrees- a temperature not likely felt in Bethune-Cookman's home of Daytona, Fla.

The Wildcats could point to any of those factors as to why TSU won the game 41-11, but either would be a bad excuse. The Tigers dominated the Wildcats in their first meeting from start to finish. It was the first of a five-game winning streak for TSU in the series.

Both teams felt each other out to start the game, and neither scored a point in the opening quarter.

The scoring finally got under way in the second period, and the game seemed destined to be a shoot-out. Second-year quarterback Kenneth Biggles hit wide receiver Golden Tate with a four-yard strike, and kicker Carlos Jones converted one of his five PATs on the night.

With score at 7-0 in TSU's favor, the Wilcats answered the opening score with a 29-yard field goal to cut the lead to four.

Not to be outdone, Biggles threw his second touchdown of the night, hitting All-American wide receiver Mike Jones with an electrifying 56-yard pass. The score gave the Tigers a 14-3 going into halftime.

After a scoreless third frame, Biggles came out strong in the fourth and threw two scores to Jones and Herman Hunter from 21 and 22 yards out, respectively.

Biggles finished the game 14-22 for 277 yards and four touchdowns. Most of his passes were to Jones who caught four for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Up by over 20 points, TSU head coach John Merritt inserted All-American quarterback Brian Ransom into the game for the first time all season. TSU didn't let up after getting the big lead as Ransom threw a 44-yard bomb to Tate for a 44-yard touchdown.

Tate's final numbers in the game were four catches for 118 yards and two scores.

Later in the quarter, backup running back Mickey Avery ran the ball off of the right end for a 75-yard gain, and then scored two plays later to give TSU an even more commanding lead at 41-3.

Bethune-Cookman finally scored a touchdown within the last three minutes of the game, but TSU moved to 6-0-1 with the 30-point victory.

TSU would finish the season 9-0-1 and a Black College National Championship.

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.

Sports Information Assistant Alex Mitchell contributed to this article.

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